Ex California Cult Member

Barbie

Patron
Hi. I have been reading the posts on ESMB for a couple weeks now and I just wanted to say thank you to all the people who have posted so openly and honestly about their experiences.

I left a cult in California a bit less than a year ago when I moved to Australia. The cult was not Scientology, but from my reading, many of the mind control techniques used were the same. I was in for 18 years and now I am trying to adjust to a life in the real world.

One thing I am still struggling with is the intense need to ‘belong’ to something. I was (am) even checking out other ‘groups’ like Saint Mat, the Rosicrucians, and Scientology. It was a visit to Scientology and a very upsetting auditing experience that actually made me see some of the damage my cult had done to me.

Through that I have met a few very supportive friends in Sydney who are ex cult members. Anyone else I speak to about my experiences seems to look on me like an idiot… how else could you get involved in a cult… you must have a weak mind…

I would like to move on but even the simplest things I do bring up an association to my cult, like folding my napkin, opening a door, or looking a person in the eyes. And sex, especially sex.

How can I separate myself from these associations? I left my husband, my home, my animals… but I can’t leave these reactions in my mind.

I would be grateful for suggestions to resources on cult recovery, and especially grateful for any personal advice you might want to give on how to clear your mind from all the cult programming. After 18 years in, it sometimes seems like that is the only mind I have left. I have forgotten how to be myself.
 

programmer_guy

True Ex-Scientologist
Barbie said:
One thing I am still struggling with is the intense need to ‘belong’ to something.

I would suggest that you belong to your family.
Or do you not have that option since you moved to another country?
 

Mest Lover

Not Sea Org Qualified
I found strength in my own self at my Baptist church.
I found new freedom on ESMB.

Welcome to the board, read a lot.
 

Type4_PTS

Diamond Invictus SP
Hi Barbie,
Welcome to ESMB! :welcome:

Steve Hassan is a great resource in understanding (and recovering from) the cult experience. His website is here:
http://www.freedomofmind.com/

At the bottom of that page are a couple books he wrote which have gotten excellent reviews. :yes:
 

Mystic

Crusader
Hi Barbie. Many welcomes to ESMB and congratulations for surviving and leaving a cult. Eventually, a little each day, the cult experience leaves us as we return to life. Sometimes the "return" comes in huge gulps, sometimes hardly noticeable.

 

Auditor's Toad

Clear as Mud
Hi. I have been reading the posts on ESMB for a couple weeks now and I just wanted to say thank you to all the people who have posted so openly and honestly about their experiences.

I left a cult in California a bit less than a year ago when I moved to Australia. The cult was not Scientology, but from my reading, many of the mind control techniques used were the same. I was in for 18 years and now I am trying to adjust to a life in the real world.

One thing I am still struggling with is the intense need to ‘belong’ to something. I was (am) even checking out other ‘groups’ like Saint Mat, the Rosicrucians, and Scientology. It was a visit to Scientology and a very upsetting auditing experience that actually made me see some of the damage my cult had done to me.

Through that I have met a few very supportive friends in Sydney who are ex cult members. Anyone else I speak to about my experiences seems to look on me like an idiot… how else could you get involved in a cult… you must have a weak mind…

I would like to move on but even the simplest things I do bring up an association to my cult, like folding my napkin, opening a door, or looking a person in the eyes. And sex, especially sex.

How can I separate myself from these associations? I left my husband, my home, my animals… but I can’t leave these reactions in my mind.

I would be grateful for suggestions to resources on cult recovery, and especially grateful for any personal advice you might want to give on how to clear your mind from all the cult programming. After 18 years in, it sometimes seems like that is the only mind I have left. I have forgotten how to be myself.

I would suggest to you that you read thread after thread after thread here.

To me, a cult is a cult is cult. Some of us spent years ( hell, decades ) in the C o $ and can't explain it. Most of know what it feels like to wake up one morning without our "religion" of decades and our " dear friends" dropping us like we had the plague.

We've been there, done that, had the T shirt rammed you-know-where.
It does come right. Work through it. I keep telling myself I did not get consumed by a cult instantly and it is going to take some time to get myself disentangled from the bat shit crazy stuff I got myself in.

Hang with people who will help you recover - and there are many of them on this board. You'll see 'em, you'll know 'em let them help you. One day it will be your turn to help the newbies. And, I bet, you will.

Post or PM me, I'll do my best for you.

PS - what helped me with triggers was going " Oh, that's a trigger ". I'd NEVER realized damn near everything I did in my waking life was a trigger !
 

Div6

Crusader
One of the attractions of "the cult experience" is that you don't have to be concerned over the increased noise in the world...the cult provides a shell and answers for some of the difficult questions in life. It is not surprising that after leaving a structured group you seek structure elsewhere, and it is a natural thing in life to want to grow, learn and do new things. Cults look "emotionally safe" from the outside, and Scn particularly so given their advertised "codes" and seeming focus on "ethical conduct". But this board is a testament to the fact that they are currently "window dressing" to a much darker scene. You would do well to read, talk to others, and build a life that suits you, and your interests. There are many ways to share common interests and purposes without having to sign your life away (or in the case of Scientology's Sea Org, a billion years.)

Thanks for posting, and best wishes in your new life.
 

Barbie

Patron
I would suggest that you belong to your family.
Or do you not have that option since you moved to another country?

I disconnected from my family while I was in the cult and I am trying to rebuild those relationships, which is good. None of them are here in Australia, and after almost 18 years of no communication I hardly know them and they don't know me. They are open and caring but it needs to go deeper. Luckily I have the opportunity now (but honestly I do not think it will ever be a very close relationship).
 

Sindy

Crusader
One of the attractions of "the cult experience" is that you don't have to be concerned over the increased noise in the world...the cult provides a shell and answers for some of the difficult questions in life. It is not surprising that after leaving a structured group you seek structure elsewhere, and it is a natural thing in life to want to grow, learn and do new things. Cults look "emotionally safe" from the outside, and Scn particularly so given their advertised "codes" and seeming focus on "ethical conduct". But this board is a testament to the fact that they are currently "window dressing" to a much darker scene. You would do well to read, talk to others, and build a life that suits you, and your interests. There are many ways to share common interests and purposes without having to sign your life away (or in the case of Scientology's Sea Org, a billion years.)

Thanks for posting, and best wishes in your new life.

What a kind post. :goodposting:
 

Barbie

Patron
Hi Barbie,
Welcome to ESMB! :welcome:

Steve Hassan is a great resource in understanding (and recovering from) the cult experience. His website is here:
http://www.freedomofmind.com/

At the bottom of that page are a couple books he wrote which have gotten excellent reviews. :yes:

Hi and thank you. I have read one book already that referenced him and it was a very practical part. I am looking for copies but there are not any in my local library. The website is helpful though!
 

AnonyMary

Formerly Fooled - Finally Free
Welcome Barbie!

In addition to Steve Hassan, here are some more resources:

Cult Help and Information - Home
http://www.caic.org.au/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cult_Awareness_and_Information_Centre

Cult Information Centre UK
http://www.cultinformation.org.uk/

FACTNet - There are forums on different cuts and lots of information.
http://www.factnet.org/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fight_Against_Coercive_Tactics_Network

Beware of the scientology owned " Cult awareness Network" aka CAN, obtained from driving the original organization into bankruptcy and buying the rights to the name.
 

scooter

Gold Meritorious Patron
If you are in Sydney, look up Cult Information and Family Services - it is a group of cult survivors and their relatives.

I think you'll find it a welcoming place who will know exactly where you are coming from.
 

Dulloldfart

Squirrel Extraordinaire
I would like to move on but even the simplest things I do bring up an association to my cult, like folding my napkin, opening a door, or looking a person in the eyes. And sex, especially sex.

Live a lot, intensely, and build new associations. In 18 years, folding a napkin once a day leads to 18 x 365 = 6570 foldings. If you have folded a napkin 100 times outside your cult that is still a ratio of 65 to 1 in favour of a cult association over a non-cult association.

Similarly for the other associations.

There is a Scientology process for getting over an old boyfriend/girlfriend that consists of looking around the room or wherever you are and finding things, one after the other, that don't remind you of _____. It might take a long time to find the first one. I imagine a similar thing might be possible if *everything* seems to remind you of your former cult.

Paul
 

GreyWolf

Gold Meritorious Patron
I am sure that it has been said already that a cult is a cult. So Welcome aboard. Believe me when I say that slowly, sanity will return. Actually, it looks like you have regained some of it because you realized that you were in one and you got out. Good for you!

Bob
 

Wisened One

Crusader
One thing I am still struggling with is the intense need to ‘belong’ to something. .

I would suggest that you belong to your family.

:touched: :yes: :cloud9:

Barbie: :welcome: to ESMB! I loved reading your post. I also struggled with the intense lonliness and need to 'belong' to some organized group again, after leaving scn. And for a few years, I DID! I attended other mainstream churches and belonged to one of 'em for a couple years). I think a lot of people who've left cults or their group, etc. do this for a little while. And it's part of the whole process, imo. :yes:

Personally though, I just couldn't stay on board with the beliefs of most of the mainstream religions out there, so although I feel lonely on that front, I don't subsribe to any one 'full set and purely so' of schools of thoughts/beliefs. I'm kinda a heinz 57 of a bunch of beliefs, lol.

I DID reconnect more with my own family since leaving, and now happily devote myself and 'belong' to them, and I've found ESMB and DO feel less lonely!

Read many stories here. Share more of your own, if you wish. it does help! :hug:
 

Lurker5

Gold Meritorious Patron
Welcome !

Welcome, Barbie. All these posts/comments are wonderful -what can I add? Well, find a therapist well versed in cult recovery - or a group specifically for that purpose. You will form new relationships and bonds - as you will here.

Also, read, read, read. A great book, not scno, but another cult, is "Not Without My Sister". For laughs, try "Life 102, What to Do When Your Guru Sues You". It is funny, but deadly serious . . . You will have to get it used. Sometimes it is cheap, sometimes expensive. Try Amazon, and keep an eye out for it (when it is cheap), or try a library.

Also, there are many books out from Polygamist survivors. I have read a handful, and every one of them was extraordinary.

You are not alone.
:welcome:
 

Jachs

Gold Meritorious Patron
Welcome barbie, we have been through very similar frightening experiences, so we can help you too, with a shoulder to lean on. Take your time its ok.

Freedom is NOT someone telling you its up to you what you think,

but just letting you look with no rules.
 

Human Again

Silver Meritorious Patron
If you are in Sydney, look up Cult Information and Family Services - it is a group of cult survivors and their relatives.

I think you'll find it a welcoming place who will know exactly where you are coming from.

^^^^^ This!^^^^^
And of course you can hang out around here if you like our flavour because we have no secret agenda to conscript you either and maybe we would benefit from knowing there are others who had to "esape" groups that were not Scientology. Sometimes our own experience can be so real to us that we forget there are others :D

Welcome!

Natascha
 

Barbie

Patron
If you are in Sydney, look up Cult Information and Family Services - it is a group of cult survivors and their relatives.

I think you'll find it a welcoming place who will know exactly where you are coming from.

Thank you. An AnonSydney friend also told me about this group and said they had group meetings but I could not find the dates on their website. He sent me an email with the most recent meeting date but I could not make it.

Do you know if they meet regularly? I usually don't go for 'group therapy' but in this case I think it would really help. Already the wonderful responses on this site have really lifted my spirits!
 
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